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Camera Photos gone


Dec 26, 2013
My apologies if this is an oft-asked question...

My phone automatically updated to 4.3 in the middle of the night last week. I've had some odds and ends not work (like my custom ringtones are gone, as is the app I used to create them).

Yesterday, I realized that all but 7 of my camera photos (in the galley-camera album) are gone. There were likely about 700ish photos in there. Unfortunately, I thought they were being backed up to my google+ and saved to my SD card. It is a bit horrifying to find out that (1) they are gone and (2) that I was stupid enough to assume they were being backed up. I am fairly certain the loss is related to the update, as the 2 or 3 I've taken since the update are present.

I can't find a way to access/recover them. I've rebooted, pulled battery, pulled SD card. The photos I've shared with FB or Instagram or text and my screenshots are all STILL present. It is just the ones that lived in my gallery-camera album. I've navigated using file managers (stock and apps) to the designated folder and they are not there anymore. Interestingly enough though, is that the thumbnails for ALL the photos are still in the .thumbnails folder (within the DCIM folder). Why would all the thumbnails be there, but the photos themselves be gone?

Can you help me? I had many kid and trip pics on the phone. :( I've since made sure I automatically back-up the pics to a couple different locations.

Phone details:
Android v 4.3

Edited to Add: I have loads of memory available on both the device and SD card (multiple GBs on both)
I am able to see some photos (the ones that aren't missing) when I connect my phone to my laptop via USB. The other 300 photos (pre-4.3) are still gone.
I just tried to access the card via a SD adaptor and card reader. (no USB no phone). I was hoping to recover photos. My laptop and PC won't read the card.

Any ideas as to why I can see the card and its contents (even though ton is missing) when I connect my phone via USB but not when I remove the card and use a card reader? I've tried both my built in SD reader and a portable reader.
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I am going to add another piece to the puzzle here/now and hope I get some insight.
I have been unable to read my microSD card on ANY PC via card reader oradapter.

I purchased a new microSD card and formatted it. When I look at the AstroFile Manager, I now have a extSdCard folder. Before I installed the new card, I only had an sdcard0 option.

I am assuming the extSdCard is the external (new card) and sdcard0 is actually internal memory? If that is correct, my I also assume my old Sd card was corrupted and that is why (1) I "lost" my pictures and (2) why no PC/software/anything has been able to recognize it?

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You are correct, sdcard0 is your internal memory and extSdCard is your micro SD you put in the battery compartment and yes, if you chose to save your photos on the original (defunct) SD than that would explain why you cannot see/read them. You can try some data recovery software for corrupt SD cards and see if it can recover your photos, but there is no guarantee that will work.

To avoid any future repetition of SD card failure is to backup your photos to your Google account using the built-in feature in the new Google Photos app, which offers auto-backup and you can define how that is going to happen in settings; for example that backups only happen when there is a WiFi connection etc.

One more thing, I'd recommend to steer clear of cheap SD cards and go for better quality , such as Samsung, AData, Kingston and others and go for a class 10 card, which provides higher read and write speeds.
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